World

UK cracks down on climate change activists before UN summit


By AFP
Published : 07 Oct 2021 07:45 PM | Updated : 08 Oct 2021 09:23 PM

B ritain is eager to brandish its environmental credentials before the upcoming COP26 summit, but it is grappling at the same time with mounting protests from climate activists.

Direct action group Extinction Rebellion has brought cities to a standstill and vowed to do the same at the UN climate change conference in Glasgow later this month.

In recent weeks, a previously unheard-of offshoot, Insulate Britain, has also caused gridlock on motorways and main roads, sparking scores of arrests and a court injunction.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday (Oct 6) called the protesters a "confounded nuisance" and welcomed moves for "new powers to insulate them snugly in prison where they belong".

The government is keen to lead the way on reducing carbon emissions and ensure new binding targets to cut global warming are met at the summit.

But it is also takes its cues from a largely right-wing British press that is increasingly hostile towards the activists and calls them an "eco-mob" and "enviro-idiots".

Both Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain have been accused of putting lives in danger with their tactics, which have included protesters gluing themselves to the tarmac and sitting in front of rush-hour traffic.

On Monday, footage showed one desperate driver begging to be let through a protest in south London so she that could follow an ambulance carrying her mother to hospital.

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